As a child, Rebekah Borucki questioned why she didn't look quite like the rest of her white family. But it wasn't until she was an adult that she learned she was biracial. Host Nancy Redd spoke to Borucki about her journey to self discovery and racial identity on HuffPost Live.
Borucki, who grew up in a mostly white neighborhood with white parents and siblings, learned at age 32 that her biological father was black. "Even though I was raised to be white, I always felt there was something different about me," she shared. "So it was a shock and a reassuring fact all at once."
While Borucki's family never openly discussed her background, other children singled her out for looking different. "I was teased. It was brutal. I was called names. I was set aside when we would play house--I could never be the sister or the mom. I was always the neighbor or the cousin. And I was asked all the time, 'why do you look different than your family.' So it wasn't so much a racial issue. It was just really an issue of not belonging and being constantly reminded of how different I was. And being called ugly because I was different. All that resulted from that--low self esteem, feeling that I didn't fit in."
Her mother ultimately admitted that Borucki was conceived in an extra-marital affair. Borucki, who is now a mother of four, reflected on her childhood and how this secret shaped her identity at the time. "I found a bunch of journals from when I was eight years old and twelve years old, where I was continuously asking myself. And I was kind of prodding my father too. Saying, you know, 'the kids at school say I look different.' Or 'they say I might be mixed.'" Borucki said.
"Even though he accepted me as his own and accepted that he wanted to raise me, I think that it bothered him a lot that there was a possibility that I wasn't his. That I was black. It was not something that we talked about. It was a point of shame. That was just another layer of it. Identifying myself as something that's shameful was very difficult for me, and very difficult for me to speak about."